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Paso Robles pickleball gets boost from city 

Pickleball Paso Robles

Example of what professional pickleball courts might look like.

Pickleball Paso Robles

Pickleball Ambassador, Jack Hodges.

The Paso Robles City Council on Tuesday night approved plans to convert the old roller hockey rink at Centennial Park to a permanent, dedicated five-court pickleball facility. The move was supported by Paso Robles resident and Pickleball Ambassador Jack Hodges and his group of 400 local players called the Paso Robles Pickleball Club. Many members attended the council meeting to support the plans.

Invented in 1965, pickleball combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping pong. It is one of the fastest growing sports in America. For nearly two years, Jack Hodges has conducted a pickleball program in the roller hockey rink at Centennial Park as a class. He was authorized to paint stripes on the existing roller hockey rink surface and is currently providing his own portable nets.

Hodges completed a vetting process with the city and is required to carry liability insurance and provide a set schedule of play. He charges a participation fee and supervises the program, according to a report from Julie Dahlen, the city’s director of library and recreation services. The city receives 25-percent of his class proceeds, and Hodges provides routine maintenance of the courts.

“We have received a quote of $18,000 to make the roller hockey rink a permanent, dedicated, five court pickleball facility,” Hodges wrote in his application. “We started 15 months ago with two courts marked off with painter’s tape. The tape lasted two months. We received permission to paint permanent lines in January of 2013. One of the reasons for allowing us to paint permanent lines was because the roller hockey rink was seldom used,” he wrote.

“In the 15 months of our pickleball class, we have only seen roller hockey players on three different occasions. They told us they play in a league in San Luis Obispo. We honestly believe this facility will attract people of all ages. This is a great game for youngsters as well. We envision clinics for the youth of Paso Robles and adjoining cities.”

The Paso Robles Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee approved the club’s proposal in January. The club plans to raise $18,000 to resurface, paint and install nets. There would be no cost to the city for building or routine maintenance of the courts, the report says.

Locals invited to play pickleball

Pickleball is played in Paso Robles at Centennial Park on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday mornings from 8:15 a.m to 11 a.m. Five courts are available and a $3 fee is charged by the city to play. The courts are on the old roller rink and fundraising is underway to resurface and stripe the courts for pickleball.

Paso Robles pickleball fundraiser

The Paso Robles Pickleball Club is holding a fundraiser to generate the $18,000 needed to establish permanent courts at Centennial Park. The event is Tuesday, May 13 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Paso Robles Inn Ballroom. The fundraising happy hour will include a silent auction, raffle prizes and a no host bar. The public is invited.

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About the author: Publisher Scott Brennan

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog.